As New Kashmir’s Ist anniversary nears, our soldiers would be the target

4th July 2020

4th July 2020

Some days ago, civilian Bashir Ahmed died when terrorists fired at a CRPF patrolling party at Sopore from a mosque. A CRPF head constable also died and three other people were injured.

It was perhaps incidents like this which inspired Nida Fazli to say:

"Uth uth ke masjidon se namaazi chale gaye,

Dehshatgaron ke haath mein Islam reh gaya".

(One by one, devouts have left the mosques; It’s only terrorists who Islam is now left with).

In this instant case, terrorists had no compunction in using masjid to target the security forces, in this case CRPF. It is nothing new in this landscape and on many occasions earlier too, they have done it.

The incident drew extraordinary attention as the pictures of Bashir's three-year old grandson sitting next to him in blood-soaked clothes went viral. Some videos of the child being carried away in a police car also went viral.

In a bid to console the child, he was given chocolates and biscuits by those who were taking care of him. Those pictures also went viral almost immediately.

Many media houses claimed that Bashir had become a victim of "cross-fire". That he was an unfortunate "collateral damage" in the violence that has engulfed Kashmir for over three decades now.

How was he a victim of "cross-fire" when the CRPF had not fired at terrorists? Even in self-defence, no bullets were fired in the direction of terrorists who vanished in thin air in a matter of minutes.

There was no encounter going on in the area and Bashir had not strayed into it inadvertently. The firing was by terrorists, from a masjid, on a CRPF patrolling party. Bashir fell to the same bullets that killed a CRPF man, and injures some others, including innocent civilians.

Confusion was created by some bystanders who seemed sympathetic to terrorists, deliberately or under duress is not clear. Sometime before this incident, a four-year old child died in an incident very similar to the one we are discussing.

Initially, attempts were made to portray him as a victim of security forces. Later, it became clear that the child had died due to bullets fired by terrorists. A new narrative was out in place and the child was declared a "martyr" by some media houses.

These are tactics we may witness in the coming days as the anniversary on August 5, 2019, scrapping of Article 35A nears. The frequency of attacks on security forces can only go up in the coming days, a senior police officer said.

IGP Kashmir Vijay Kumar, meanwhile, has firmly denied that Bashir died in cross-fire. He said that terrorists had killed CRPF man and Bashir.

Explaining things and putting them in perspective, he said: At the strategic and tactical levels, terrorists use civilian areas for attacks as it helps them and they vanish into nearby hiding places. It also helps them lay ambushes for the security forces.

IGP Vijay Kumar, along with other senior police officers, later visited the bereaved family of Bashir Ahmed and condoled his death (see image below).

Terrorists can easily spark public outrage when civilians die in attack by blaming it on the security forces (SF). This is an old tactical ploy employed by them.

Given the deep alienation in a section of populace in Kashmir, blaming security forces is the only outcome, irrespective of facts of each situation. As we saw in the Sopore incident where mosque was used for targetting CRPF men.

The desperation of the Pakistan ISI to spark mass unrest in Kashmir is palpable and those watching Kashmir vouch for it.

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